Aside from the hospital and the Brooklyn outpost of MSKCC, I’ve spent the last week indoors. I was cautioned I’d feel kind of meh and my white blood cell count is low so I’m quarantining myself from all the germy people out there. From what I see on Facebook, aside from the cancer, I might just be one of the healthiest people around right now, incubated from a nasty stomach virus and a few cold strains. In fact, with my nausea medications, I probably feel better than about 10 percent of my friends right now.
I feel pretty good. Every now and then, something happens to remind me of the ongoing side effects of the ICE — a twinge in my stomach or a weird sinus pressure thing that makes me feel as if I have water in my nose. Also, sometimes my fingers go a little numb. But this is giving me an excuse to live my ideal winter inside. Faced with the prospect of not having to venture out into the cold, I’m like that character from the classic Twilight Zone episode, when the misanthropic man gleefully realizes he has nothing but time to read after the apocalypse. Until that plot twist, of course.
I have no use for winter or cold weather — or even chilly weather. I just can’t think of a warm place I really want to live. I have tentatively ruled out living in some lovely places, like San Francisco and Dublin, Ireland, based on the weather. I don’t know if I could live someplace without a real summer, even if it means skipping winter.
A few years ago, I went on a tour of a luxury Upper West Side apartment high-rise as part of a double press event that also involved a cold-pressed juice/cleanse company. What made me envious as I toured the apartments with sweeping city views and every service imaginable was not the places themselves, or even the wealth you’d have to have to live there. With an on-premises gym, daycare, spa, pool and recreation facilities, I realized that you could stay there all winter and never have to leave. I mean, eventually, you would. But you wouldn’t have to. The luxury of never having to go outside in the cold was what appealed to me. (Also, I’m not sure that if I were that wealthy I’d pay a lot of money to drink fancy cleansing juices instead of eating. I think I would live on a diet of caviar, Cronuts and my servants’ tears.)
I’ve spent lots of time devising ways not to go outside when it’s cold. Since I work at home, I plan entire winter days so that I don’t have to leave. (Now that I don’t leave as much to work out, it’s even easier.) In college, I planned my winter quarter so I wouldn’t have to trudge around OSU’s large campus more than necessary. I scheduled my classes in buildings close together and based on minimal outdoor time.
A friend mentioned something about being an overweight, indoor, bookish only child, and that was me, exactly. You could have described me like a cat.
“What kind of child do you have?”
“Mainly indoor, a little overweight.”
I have developed a real appreciation for — even love of — working out. But it took development. I’m not a sporty person. Now, it’s one of my main hobbies — or at least part of my lifestyle. Unless I can’t because of chemo or energy levels, I still try to move every day. Today and yesterday, I even managed to do some yoga.
But I am, by nature, a sedentary person. I’m still that nerdy 10-year-old who can curl up with a book all day and not move, unless it’s to get some snacks. My idea of being outdoorsy is to go outside with that book and read all day on the porch or under a tree. A few years ago I saw a guy on the train wearing a shirt that said, “I’m outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios.” It stayed with me because 1) he looked a little red-faced from the sun and drinking and 2) I felt it struck a little too close to home for me. I also love to garden, so that gives me a legitimate, productive outdoor hobby, aside from sitting around doing indoor activities outside.
Now that I can relax in my lair with no reason to go outside and face the harsh winter, however, I haven’t gotten as far into the novel I’ve been reading as I thought I would. I’ve been getting some work done. I’ve done things like refile my Word Documents and throw out old makeup. I’ve even taken up an old hobby — crocheting — and am in the midst of making something that is somewhere between a scarf and a bolo tie.
Perhaps this isn’t my perfect winter. I guess I could do without the chemo and blood tests. I suppose in my ideal scenario, I’d be somewhere warm, sunning myself on the deck of my cabana, making my underlings weep to quench my thirst. (I just realized I could feed those cold-pressed juices to my minions so they could stay hydrated while I make them cry. I really need to win the Powerball so I can put these ideas into practice.) But for now, I get to stay inside with my boyfriend, fuzzy cats and the Internet, so it’s pretty close.